Meet the Team: Brent Dicks



Brent Dicks is our Production Manager

How long have you been working for Buckland and what do you do? 

I’ve been here for seven years, from the beginning. It started off with Robin and myself making beams, just the two of us.  Now there’s 13 of us and I run the shop floor, managing all of the production from the carpentry to making the beams. 

Do you have specific qualifications for your job? 

I’ve got a foundation degree in engineering and I have a CAD qualification. I came from making metal parts for aerospace components to now making wooden parts. 

Why did you decide to go into this industry? 

I was made redundant after 22 years with one employer. I  wanted to stay in engineering but wood was something a bit different to try. It was a good opportunity with a new company to share with them my experience. 

It was quite an eye-opener to see how wood works because in metal engineering everything is much more precise. As wood gives a bit, the measurements aren’t to the same degree as in aerospace. It makes life a bit easier. I’ve introduced engineering to the carpentry side and we’ve moved to use CAD drawings. It took some of the more ‘old school’ carpenters a bit of convincing but I told them that I used to build aeroplanes with these drawings so you can trust them! As there might be three different people here working on the same job we really all need to work to the same specifications so it doesn’t matter who’s working on it.  

What does your job involve? 

On a daily basis, I will issue jobs to the production side, monitor quantity and quality and give them patterns of what we need to produce during the week. They have some flexibility with when they work on things as long as it all gets done. I also issue the drawings to the carpentry side and keep on top of where we are with all the jobs. I organise all the fixings, stains and liaise with customers on finishings and look after all the health and safety in the factory. It’s a very varied role. 

What’s a favourite project you’ve worked on?

It would’ve been Oat Errish Farm on the Blackdown Hills in Devon. It was a Grand Designs project in the village that I grew up in. It was a really obscure building with about 30 curves, all different to one another. A very big project, at the time the biggest we’d ever done. Robin and I were also invited to the opening ceremony of their house in the evening where we met the other people involved.  

What’s the most unusual project you’ve worked on?

The other one that stands out for me is the Talk To Me – the sculptures of two giants. It was such a great project to work on and I was really keen to be involved with it. I worked a lot of overtime as we turned it around very quickly in about three weeks. The designer (Steuart Padwick) came down and worked with us on building it. I feel an affiliation with it like there’s part of us in them and I’ve been to see them in their new home in Cody Dock, Newham.  

What skills do you use in your work? 

I’d say the main skills were people management and flexibility. 

What are the best things about the job? 

Definitely the variety. From one day to the next I don’t know what I’m going to get involved with. It is also a really nice company to work for. A friendly, family-run business. 

What is the worst thing?

Time restrictions – I deal with the end of the process so by the time the project has got to me (after design, drawing, approval, orders and fabrication drawings) the production has the tightest deadlines! 

What do you like doing in your spare time? 

I’m a very keen rugby fan but I’ve stopped playing now after 15 years. I’m walking the South West Coast Path and have done from Minehead to Clovelly so far (about 100 of the 630 miles).